Annabelle Comes Home movie cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, McKenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino
Annabelle Comes Home movie director: Gary Dauberman
Annabelle Comes Home movie rating: 2 stars
A child who sees dead people. Now, that there is a premise that established M Night Shyamalan in Hollywood. In Annabelle Comes Home, that child, Judy (Grace), is just another screaming face in the Conjuring universe’s expanding horror universe. Apart from Judy’s budding psychic abilities, this film also has three teenagers who are credible both at acting stupidly as well as being sweetly sentimental. However, even that doesn’t matter before the maniacally smiling doll Annabelle, which has now got a third film outing.
The films begins with the Warrens, Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine (Farmiga), getting Annabelle home, despite having pointed out that the doll is a “conduit” for spirits as well as pure evil who must remain locked inside a glass case, that has been blessed by a priest, in a room that has a similar “holy barrier of protection”. The room has other of Warrens’ various collections, gathered over the years while fighting demons and witchcraft.
A year later, while the Warrens are out, the friend of a babysitter looking after their daughter, Judy, lets Annabelle out. As things start happening around the house — things that go thud, glasses that topple over, doors that rattle loudly, mist that rolls in, music that plays on own, people who emerge suddenly — neither Judy, nor her babysitter Mary Ellen (Iseman), nor her babysitter’s friend Danielle (Sarife), think of the most obvious answer. You know, the room below with strange things.
At first, this is a treat, for being a departure from horror films that can’t let a chance pass from the word go. One also hopes the film will go somewhere with the rather clever idea of staging this horror episode in the Warrens’ own home. But, as Annabelle Comes Home drags on and on without turning up the chill factor, you wonder whether Dauberman, directing for the first time but a well-settled collaborator in Conjuring films, has run out of scares. Only in the last 20 minutes or so does the film seem to realise how much time has passed, and goes on to pack in a series of bizarre attacks while avoiding any real damage.
The most disturbing aspect of the film isn’t even talked about. Which parents, that too psychics, leave their young daughter alone in a house full of evil, with a teenage babysitter, and not call back to check?
An easy answer is that Judy is around for a reason — all the better to keep Annabelle alive.